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UPSC Subject List

The IAS subjects as per the ics syllabus includes mostly all the subjects that we covered in school in the name of general studies. One has to study those and more. The IAS exam syllabus given by UPSC may appear simple on face value but requires a lot of study and understanding of each compulsary and optional subject and its portions. The UPSC subjects in civil services are designed to judge you on your understanding of things around you as only an informed person can take informed decisions as a civil servant. IAS officers are policy makers and most of the services within the Civil Services include dealing with people and policies. It is with great deligence that ias subjects are chosen.

How many Optional Subjects for IAS

How many Optional Subjects for IAS exam is a recurring question asked by many students.
  • Apart from the compulsory subjects in the IAS exam,
  • there is only one optional subject that you can choose for the UPSC exam.
  • There are two papers in the optional paper which are conducted on the same day of the exam as a morning and an afternoon paper.
  • There a huge gamut of upsc optional subjects on offer and you can choose any one of them as per ease of availability of study material, coaching and your interest in the optional subject.
  • The complete upsc optional subject list has been given below. Choose your optional subject for upsc exam.

Popular UPSC optional subject list

Some of the Popular UPSC subjects are
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology
  • Public Administration
  • History
  • Geography
  • Law
  • Philosophy
  • Agriculture and
  • Political Science.
The number students that choose these popular subjects is high and so is the number of students from these subjects that qualify. If you are an engineering student you could choose maths too but most choose arts subjects as they also overlap with general studies portions. Medicial students can choose medicine as there are many who qualify but if you have the same reason to choose arts subjects.

The UPSC Syllabus is divided into three sections:

Preliminary UPSC Syllabus

It is designed to evaluate a persons' understanding of current affairs and tests their ability in short duration of time. The preliminary paper is a compulsory and qualifying paper. Aspirant must clear the prelims exam to qualify to the next stage of the exam called Mains Exam. The prelims exam has two papers

  • General Studies Paper I and
  • General Studies (CSAT) Paper II (qualifying in nature) carrying a maximum of 400 marks.

UPSC Subjects List for Prelims

The syllabus for the Preliminary Exams for Paper-I consists of

General Studies - Current events of national and international importance

Subjects Topics
History History of India
Indian National Movement
Geography Indian and World Geography
Economic Geography of India and the World
Political Science / Civics Indian Polity and Governance
Political System
Panchayati Raj
Public Policy
Rights Issues, etc.,
Economics Economic and Social Development
Sustainable Development
General Science Physics
Environmental Science General issues on Environmental Ecology
Climate Change
Sociology Social Sector initiatives, etc.,

All the above are compulsary subjects in the prelims exam paper 1. We propose that all NCERT books related to these subjects must be read well.

Paper II is dynamic in nature and includes
  • mathematics,
  • reasoning,
  • analytical ability, and
  • interpersonal skills
. The Paper II is now of only qualifying nature and its mark is not counted while making the merit list. However, it is mandatory for the candidate to score minimum 33 per cent in this paper to qualify the Prelims exam.

Mains UPSC Syllabus

The mains syllabus for optional papers is generally of the honours degree level that is between the bachelors degree and the masters degree. It contains 9 papers, where there are two qualifying papers and seven papers counted for ranking and syllabus is framed according to the subjects with total of 1750 marks.

IAS Subjects for Mains

The syllabus for the mains is more widespread and the subjects are roughly the same as the prelims except the focus on

  • Dissaster management,
  • government policies and Ethics,
  • Integrity and
  • Aptitude.
  • If you are preparing for the IAS exam we recommend that you prepare the same syllabus as the mains for your prelims too in the first level and during revisions you can focus only on what is mentioned in the prelims IAS exam syllabus.

    Subjects in UPSC Mains Exam

    Interview (Personality Test)

    The UPSC Interview/personality test has no prescribed syllabus. The candidates will be interviewed by a Board of competent and unbiased members and will be questioned on matters of general interest and the candidate will be evaluated not only based on their

    • intellectual qualities but also on
    • social traits,
    • interest in current affairs,
    • mental alertness,
    • critical power of adaptation,
    • rational exposition,
    • balance of judgment,
    • variety and depth of interest,
    • ability for social interconnection and leadership,
    • logical and moral uprightness

    Compulsory subjects for UPSC exam

    What are the optional subjects in Mains exam?

    Here is a list of subjects that can be taken as optional paper in the Civil Services (Mains) examination. The list is as per the UPSC prescribed subjects. Once you click on the listed links you will find all resources regarding that IAS exam paper and the syllabus. Knowing the IAS Syllabus thoroughly is one of the most important sections of making through the IAS exam conducted by UPSC.

    UPSC Optional Subject list for Social Sciences

    UPSC Optional Subject List in Science

    IAS exam Optional Subjects List of Engineering

    Optional subjects for IAS exam for Commerce and Management

    UPSC Optional IAS subjects for Indian Languages

    Useful Tips For Civil Services Exams

    1. IAS Exam Strategy
    2. Prelims Exam Syllabus
    3. How To Prepare For Prelims
    4. Mains Examination Syllabus
    5. How to Choose Mains Subjects
    6. Guidance for Mains exam
    7. General Studies
    8. Essays for Mains
    9. English (Qualifying nature) for Mains
    10. Indian Languages for Mains
    11. Preparing for Mains
    12. How to Read
    13. How to Prepare Notes
    14. UPSC Question Papers
    15. UPSC Interview Questions